AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Augusta commissioners voted to pay $120,000 to the attorneys of Martha Burk, who claimed the city improperly restricted a protest
against Augusta National's all-male membership.
Burk, who heads the National Council of Women's Organizations, filed a federal lawsuit against the city. She claimed an ordinance that kept her from
protesting near the main gate of Augusta National during last year's Masters violated her rights.
Local officials, citing security concerns, said the protest had to be about half a mile from the club's gates. The taxpayers are now having to pick up
the tab for Augusta National's discrimination against women," Burk said Friday. "Our attorneys did a very good job, and they deserve to be paid."
U.S. District Judge Dudley Bowen Jr. disagreed with Burk's claim that the ordinance violated her constitutional rights. But a three-judge panel of the
11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the ordinance improperly targeted political protests and gave too much power to the sheriff and city
The city appealed that ruling to the full 11th Circuit Court, but the court refused to hear the case. The settlement effectively ends the lawsuit,
said attorney Jim Wall, who represented the city.
"It's a compromise on their part, it's a compromise on our part," Wall said. "That's what a settlement is for. It resolves the case."
Commissioners voted on the negotiated settlement Thursday after a closed-door meeting.
They have torneys for the women, and those are the ones that the women should enter. Theres no way that a guy could enter a womens tourney, so why is
the other way around for women.
[Edited on 31/7/04 by TRD]